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Monday, January 24, 2022

Just Throw It Down the Middle

To summarize, hitters were worse off against poorly located fastballs than ever before, in a season where they saw a greater rate of them than ever before. That’s confusing, and it wouldn’t be a FanGraphs article without numerous words, tables, and charts to infer why.

One reason: Fastballs are also faster than ever before. The velocity surge, once viewed with dismay and wonder, had largely plateaued since around 2016, when fastballs averaged 93.2 mph. That average rose to just 93.4 mph by 2020, the sluggish pace suggesting a limit to what humans could achieve. But pitchers broke out of their slump last season, recording an average fastball velocity of 93.7 mph. In conjunction with a new baseball, the sudden jump could explain hitters’ struggles against even the plainest fastballs, location-wise.

There seems to be more, though. The explosion in fastball velocity suggests a sudden improvement in results – fluctuating years preceded by a definitive jump. But look at fastballs located in the “Shadow” of the zone, and the decline in run value is gradual. It’s likely that over time, as more and more pitchers started climbing the ladder, hitters became increasingly ill-equipped to handle these fastballs. Last season represented a new low for borderline fastballs, sure, but merely in the footsteps of several lows before it. So how are pitchers’ strategies different with down-the-middle fastballs? How did they become, all of a sudden, better?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 06:29 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitching

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   1. FernandoPoplar Posted: January 30, 2022 at 06:45 AM (#6063033)
I have worked on quite a few projects where automation was used to make business processes run easier, faster, and cheaper. We have used technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks, like data entry and tagging but also visit https://www.ilounge.com/articles/ai-essay-writing-software-pros-and-cons site for quality work. We have used big data to predict outcomes and we have used 3D printing to quickly produce prototypes and design mockups. Keep it up!
   2. Baldrick Posted: January 30, 2022 at 07:41 AM (#6063034)
A 94 MPH fastball used to be something pretty special. It's now the average. That's just nuts.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2022 at 11:33 AM (#6063040)
A 94 MPH fastball used to be something pretty special. It's now the average. That's just nuts.

Always remember the measurement changes from the 70's. A 94 MPH fastball back then is 99 today, and still very special. When Nolan Ryan threw 101 back then, that's 106 MPH today, and as hard as anyone throws today.

the-measure-of-a-fastball-has-changed-over-the-years
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 30, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6063061)
Then how many pitchers were throwing 94 in the 70's, compared to how many are throwing 99 today?

And if the point is that fastball velocity increases are mostly a statistical quirk, then what explains the increase of nearly 4 strikeouts per team per game since the 70's?
   5. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 30, 2022 at 06:27 PM (#6063086)
I think Andy's point deserves a response.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: January 30, 2022 at 10:45 PM (#6063139)
4. Well, the offense has played a pretty significant role in that development.
   7. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 31, 2022 at 12:39 AM (#6063148)
that's your pet theory but its not backed up by the evidence.

Strikeouts have been ever increasing every year since 2001. HR were the same from '01-'15 they suddenly jumped in 2016 and remain high.

SO you're telling me that hitters were swinging harder from 2001 to 2015 but not hitting more HRs. WHy would they be doing that?

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